This year’s BBQ and Blues Festival will be the fourth, and the second to be held at Shaw Park in downtown Winnipeg. While the lineup hasn’t been released yet, the BBQ is confirmed: The Pitmaster Championship BBQ Competition (which is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society) will be back in full force this year.

“I love the approach that Rick Fenton takes with the festival,” John Scoles, Janitor/President of the Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club, explains.

“Last year, he incorporated us into the festival. He had Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer play here, and this year again he offered: if there’s somebody who’s playing there that I would like to book as well, we were welcome to do that.”

Scoles sees the programming of the festival and the year-round patronage of the Times as working together, and both operating as a kind of community service.

“The blues festival doesn’t really go out and create a new audience. A place like Times, by the same token, doesn’t create a new audience really,” Scoles says. “It tends to a heritage, and same with the blues festival. They make sure that something that has come before continues.”

A highlight from the 2013 festival, for Scoles, was seeing Jimmy Vaughan and Louann Barton. One can only hope that in 2015, he’ll have the chance to revisit some new old favourites.

Part of the series: The 7th Annual Summer Festival Guide

Published in Volume 69, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 3, 2015)

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